Marcel Dzama “A Game of Chess” (2011) official trailer. Courtesy of David Zwirner, NY. © 2011 Marcel Dzama
Last week’s 2011 edition of ArtPop – the visual arts wing of the annual music festival Pop Montreal – showcased Marcel Dzama’s recent films “A Game of Chess” (2011) and “Death Disco Dance” (2011). The former was premiered in his solo exhibition “Behind Every Curtain” at David Zwirner Gallery in New York earlier this year. This black and white film reveals Dzama’s inspiration and nostalgia of Bauhaus, Duchamp and yet retains a strong story telling sense, in a very personal aesthetic that resonates with contemporary life. An offshoot of “A Game of Chess”, the four-minutes colour film “Death Disco Dance” is more spontaneous and upbeat, and found a world premier at ArtPop. M-KOS interviewed Dzama during his Montreal pop-over.
M-KOS: Is this your first time back in Montreal since your retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Montreal in 2010?
Marcel Dzama: Yes. This is the first time since then. It is very nice to be here in fall instead of winter.
MK: Yes, less snow…
Dzama: Well, it’s beautiful in winter as well but it’s much nicer now.
MK: You are here for POP Festival?
Dzama: Yes. I’m showing two films – one is a short film called “Death Disco Dance”, almost like a little music video or an art film, with a Post punk soundtrack which I played with the special guest band with a live sound system.
The other one is called “A Game of Chess”. It’s a 15 minutes film that was shot in Guadalajara, in Mexico. I had a friend who had a ceramic foundry there. I was making ceramic sculptures. Originally I had the idea of shooting film at my studio in New York but my friend at the foundry said “shoot it here, I have all the connections of people here!”. So I had the ballet company of Guadalajara perform in the film and I made these papier maché costumes there which was a lot of fun to be in Mexico instead of being in my studio making them. And a lot of people were helping me as well in making them.